One day, beauty guru and YouTube vlogger Remi Cruz was in her bathroom when it struck her: She had a lot of beauty products.
She started counting: one, two, three … 19, 20, 21. She used around 21 products every single morning — and most of these products were in plastic bottles and containers and had ended up in the trash when she was done using them.
After all, at that time, she didn't know if they could be recycled or not. It made her realize that her impact on the planet was a lot bigger than she'd thought.
All photos via Upworthy.
Remi Cruz is not alone in using a lot of beauty products that come in plastic containers. The average woman uses 12 different beauty products every single day, but only half of Americans are recycling the empty containers these products come in. As a result, beauty products are a huge part of the 79% of plastic waste that ends up in landfills.
"It completely blew my mind to think how much [plastic] I had wasted," Remi says.
She knew she had to do something to change her impact — that's why she got involved with the Garnier and Do Something.org "Rinse, Recycle, Repeat" campaign.
She found out that most of plastic containers could, in fact, be recycled. Even the plastic tops — the screw-on caps and pumps on many beauty products — can be recycled.
"I feel like not many people [know] that — and I definitely didn't," Remi says.
Once you recycle these items, you can do a lot of good. Recycling just one shampoo bottle can power a lightbulb for three hours. That means the 21 beauty products Remi uses can be repurposed to make the world a little brighter.
That meant that one simple addition to her bathroom — a recycling bin — could make all the difference. Only 14% of households have one in their bathroom. But for Remi, that small addition helped recycling become a regular part of her beauty routine. "I don't have to think twice about it," she says.
Once she gathered up all those recycled plastic bottles and containers, she would then send them off to be recycled into something new and awesome.
In fact, to make the recycling process even easier, some big beauty brands are offering to help when it comes to beauty product recycling. Garnier, for example, has partnered with TerraCycle to make the recycling process easier and efficient for anyone who has collected 10 or more pounds of recyclable products.
All you have to do is visit Garnier's website and print a shipping label to send all that plastic to TerraCycle. They cover the cost of shipping, whether it's a Garnier product or not, in an effort to "beauty responsibly."
Once your products arrive at TerraCycle, they are recycled into something the entire community can enjoy, like a picnic table (which takes about 5,700 shampoo bottles) or a park bench (which takes around 1,200).
Most people think of recycling plastics as a complicated process. But Remi says it starts by simply educating ourselves.
Remi began learning more about eco-friendly beauty through her work with Garnier. They’ve made sustainability an important part of their mission, including the reduction of plastic waste. In fact, since 2011, Garnier has helped recycle over 10,000,000 beauty product containers. And this year, they're working to get a million more recycled.
"Since working with Garnier last year, I've learned so much about how I can make such a difference and how one person can really make such a huge change," Remi says.
We only get one planet, which makes doing our part more important than ever. Thankfully, the little things can add up.
"It's really important to remember that everybody can make a change," Remi says.
A bathroom recycling bin might seem like a small place to start, but working together, Remi is confident that everyone — beauty guru or otherwise — can help keep plastics out of landfills, starting with their morning routine.
"Hopefully, at the end of this year, we can keep a million more beauty products out of the landfills," Remi adds. "I think that'd be amazing."